AUTHOR: CHRIS "BEARLIGHT" LEE / @BEARLIGHTCASTS
Stay Plugged In visited the 2023 Collegiate Esports Commissioner's Cup (CECC) at Esports Stadium Arlington in Texas over the weekend. The CECC live event features some of the most prestigious collegiate esports programs in VALORANT, Rocket League, Super Smash Bros.™ Ultimate, and Overwatch 2. Watching these games is quite entertaining. The Stay Plugged In team planned to be a lot more than spectators to this first-rate esports event, however.
Stay Plugged In hosted an event of their own within the arena, a high school recruiting "SPINvitational". Over the course of the weekend, high school esports athletes were awarded a unique opportunity to watch the best collegiate esports teams of today compete, alongside a chance to show the colleges the value they can add to the top teams of tomorrow.
The SPINvitational provided a full LAN experience for these VALORANT and Super Smash Bros.™ Ultimate players all while under the eyes of college recruiters. Kaitlin Teniente, director at ST MARYS ESPORTS attended Stay Plugged In's live recruiting event over the weekend, looking to add important pieces to her program. "I had such a wonderful and pleasant experience at the Stay Plugged In SPINvitational this weekend." Teniente mentioned in a tweet following the event. "By far the best recruiting experience I’ve had this season. Massive kudos to the SPIN squad, looking forward to the next event we can get to!".
College teams receiving an invite to events like these typically attribute recruiting as a top contributing factor to their program's success. Of the contending teams competing for the Commissioner's Cup, five of the final eight teams in EACH of the playoff brackets for VALORANT, Overwatch 2, and Rocket League have utilized the Stay Plugged In platform for recruiting. The platform allows coaches and directors to create a profile and message esports student athletes looking for collegiate opportunities directly through the website.
Connections made through the site over the past few years created some pretty special moments this weekend. The Stay Plugged In team was able to stop and catch up with SPIN alumni who committed to their programs through the platform in the past. A few examples are shown in this tweet, where you see ANTIX, a Freshman currently competing with BREWTON-PAKER ESPORTS Rocket League, as well as COSMICFLIPPY and CRYPTIC, playing Rocket League for COLUMBIA COLLEGE ESPORTS as Sophomores. When not battling for the Cup, these three were able to take a trip down memory lane, and catch some of the SPINvitational action with their current coaches and teammates.
Check out some highlights and results from the SPINvitational at CECC powered by Esposure™ and Vanta below!
Cannon School and Rizzly Bears are both teams that feature some high-caliber VALORANT talent and attend Stay Plugged In recruiting events pretty regularly. They proved their ability to perform at LAN as well, honoring their #1 and #2 seeds respectively, and making their way through the bracket for a Finals appearance.
For the Rizzly Bears, there was virtually no sweat needed to get there. They went 26-5 in rounds played through the Semifinals and awaited the decision between Cannon School and Prosper High across the bracket. They would wait quite a while, as that match would push into SEVEN OVERTIMES to reach it's conclusion. In an all-out battle between North Carolina (Cannon) and Texas (Prosper), it was Cannon edging out the Eagles in their home state 20-18 to advance to the Finals.
the Cannon vs. Rizzly Bears Final began as expected, attracting quite a crowd around them for Map 1 at Pearl. Rounds punched back and forth, but it was Cannon School with the extra work late, overcoming a 0-5 start and rising to a 13-11 win once again proving their ability to perform in close matches. They would continue their winning ways into Map 2 at Haven, and closed out the Best-of-Three series over Rizzly Bears there. Congratulations to Cannon School for their SPINvitational title!
CANNON SCHOOL (CSG ESPORTS)
ROSTER: DOCRAM, AU5TIN, SLARK, ICY, LUX
SUPER SMASH BROS.™ ULTIMATE
Over 45 high school Super Smash Bros.™ Ultimate players hit the stage to compete in front of college recruiters to gain esports scholarship opportunities this past weekend. The players reaching the Upper Semifinals stayed hot, and the push for the top 4 was a close one. In the Lower Quarterfinals to determine our top 4, both Best-of-5 matches went the distance, showcasing the level of depth existing in the showcase.
Our biggest stories of this title comes from a pair of Seniors. Third Place "Meks" of Proper High School fell in Round 2 of the Upper Bracket, forcing the senior to work through EIGHT rounds of the Lower Bracket to reach a third place finish. The other is "slainey" of Rock Hill High (RHHS), who went a perfect 6-0 in matches played without dropping a single game. Congratulations to slainey for your SPINvitational title!
FIRST PLACE: SLAINEY (Senior)
Match Record: 6-0 | Game Record: 15-0
SECOND PLACE: OMLETGOD (Junior)
Match Record: 6-2 | Game Record: 17-11
THIRD PLACE: MEKS (Senior)
Match Record: 9-2 | Game Record: 23-7